From the first, Nature and philosophy have been the pivots of artist Shukla Chowdhury's works. The engagement has gone from strength to strength, as is evident in her 12th solo show “The Phoenix's Paradise”. Elaborating on her fixation with the mythical bird vis-à-vis her art, Shukla says, “For me, the phoenix signifies the never-ending process of transformation of life. From despair to hope and vice versa, we go through crests and troughs and each experience educates and enriches us. As for this particular series, the bird symbolises death and re-birth as it rises from its own ashes and takes its followers on a flight to its beautiful home in Paradise. This imagery distils our longing for joyfulness. In an age of increasing mobility and dissolving social bonds, the yearning for intimacy and emotional bondage is growing stronger. Many have started to turn away from reality in search of solitude and hope. In this milieu, my works seek to offer a new spirit of realism that singularly longs for beauty and reaches for paradise and fictional, fairy-tale worlds.”

Given Shukla's engagement with natural beauty, it is obvious that flora, fauna and natural phenomena form the core of “The Phoenix's Paradise”. Through semi-abstract representations of the life forces of Nature, Shukla tries to depict how this energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only moulded into various forms.

With deft strokes and vibrant colours, she creates the imagery of a tropical paradise with volcanoes, waterfalls, rain forests, beautiful beaches and blue expanses of the sea. The show also pays tribute to the International Earth Day. Shukla's stint in Santiniketan brought her closer to these ideas. “Nothing's a better teacher than life itself; which is why, after going through the various joys and sorrows, I can now confidently depict my deep-rooted philosophies and ideas through my art” she says.

Bottomline: Semi-abstract representations of the life forces of Nature that also represent the search for solitude and hope.

What: The Phoenix's Paradise by Shukla Chowdhury

Where: Aks Art Gallery, Adarsh Nagar, Opp. Samarth Vaibhav, Oshiwara, Andheri (W), Mumbai.

When: Till May 5